Sarasota architects hope to preserve Mid-Century Modernism in Florida

Architecture, East, Newsletter
Monday, December 8, 2014
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Healy Guest House by Ralph Twitchell and Paul Rudolph.

Healy Guest House by Ralph Twitchell and Paul Rudolph.

The style of architecture known as “mid-century modern” is a cousin to the “International style.” A popular combination of European stylistic tendencies and domestic American influences, including furniture design, it has become an influential catch all term for distinguished post-World War II structures and commercial tract homes (like the Eichler Homes). While the style has become widely popular in lifestyle magazines like Dwell and even replicated in new suburban developments, the original homes are being regularly torn down and being replaced with bloated McMansions that have shoe closets the size of the former mid-century living rooms.

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Pictorial> Take a tour of Paul Rudolph’s only house in Detroit

Architecture, Midwest
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
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(Michelle & Chris Gerard)

(Michelle & Chris Gerard)

Today, AN reported on Detroit’s lone house designed by architect Paul Rudolph called the Parcells House. According to our article, “The waterfront home faces Lake Saint Clair and was designed to give waterfront views to almost every room. As the home sits on a lot at the end of a cul-de-sac where heavy plantings and trees cover the driveway and maintain privacy, it is, for the most part, only viewable by boat.” Check out a slideshow of the inside and outside of the house below and be sure to learn more about the property, currently on the market, over here.

View the slideshow after the jump.

Iconic works by Paul Rudolph to be celebrated in Sarasota, Florida

Architecture, East, On View, Preservation
Thursday, September 25, 2014
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Umbrella House after restoration. (Bill Miller)

Umbrella House after restoration. (Bill Miller)

In 1948, Paul Rudolph was residing at the American Academy in Rome. He had traveled there to study classical architecture, but was instead spending his days designing modern houses for Sarasota, Florida. In fact, Sarasota, according to Timothy Rohan who has recently published a monograph on Rudolph, made a huge impression on the architect and defined his work for the rest of his career. He had moved there to apprentice and work for the local architect Ralph Twitchell, who in the 1940s helped create a style of modern house that eventually became known as the Sarasota school.

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Five Paul Rudolph Buildings Under Threat in Buffalo

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
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Paul Rudolph's Shoreline Apartments in Buffalo, New York (Kelvin Dickinson / Flickr)

Paul Rudolph’s Shoreline Apartments in Buffalo, New York (Kelvin Dickinson / Flickr)

2013 has proven to be a difficult year for post-war concrete architecture. While some iconic structures have managed to emerge from the maelstrom of demolition attempts unharmed, including M. Paul Friedberg’s Peavy Plaza in Minneapolis and (tentatively) the Paul Rudolph–designed Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York (the fate of which still remains uncertain), others have been less lucky.

John Johansen’s daring Mummers Theater in Oklahoma City, Richard Neutra’s Gettysburg Cyclorama and, more recently, Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Woman’s Hospital in Chicago have all been doomed to the wrecking ball. Despite architectural historian Michael R. Allen’s claim that the demolition of the Prentice’ Woman’s Hospital would be Modernism’s “Penn Station Moment,” the trend still pushes on.

The next in line to fight for its survival is a set of Paul Rudolph buildings in Buffalo, New York. Tomorrow, November 6, at 8:15 a.m., the Buffalo City Planning Board will convene to decide the fate of five buildings included in Rudolph’s 9.5-acre Shoreline Apartment complex.

Continue reading after the jump.

Paul Rudolph-Designed Apartment Sells for $26 Million in New York

East
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
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Interior of the Paul Rudolph-designed apartment at 927 Fifth Avenue. (Courtesy Paul Rudolph Foundation)

Interior of the Paul Rudolph-designed apartment at 927 Fifth Avenue. (Courtesy Paul Rudolph Foundation)

A Fifth Avenue apartment designed by Paul Rudolph in 1970 has been sold to a private owner for $26 million according to the the New York Observer. Commissioned by Claire & Maurits Edersheim for whom Rudolph also renovated a Larchmont New York house and a Smith Barney office, the apartment, according to the Paul Rudolph Foundation, “features many of the characteristic elements of Rudolph’s interior architecture from the mid-Sixties through the Seventies: extensive use of mirrors and reflective surfaces, plastics and other synthetic materials, curvilinear geometry, painterly use of color, and experimental lighting.”

While it is not known if the new owners will retain any of the classic Rudolph interior, the Observer noted that the owners plan to combine the unit with another to create a larger duplex, which could mean Rudolph’s details will be lost. The interior currently has a series of Rudolph’s typical small, highly-designed spaces which look perfect for a dry martini!

Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center Gets Reprieve, Vote Points To Renovation

East
Monday, February 11, 2013
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(Tom Stoelker / AN)

(Tom Stoelker / AN)

Concrete architecture from the 1970s hasn’t been faring well of late, but while Bertrand Goldberg’s expressionist Prentice Hospital seems destined for the wrecking ball, Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York has been spared. In a 15-6 vote, the members of the Orange County Legislature backed a resolution to renovate the building, defeating efforts by County Executive Edward Diana who has pushed for demolition of Rudolph’s dynamic and puzzling structure. The arguments hinged on cost more than on architectural merit, but even so, architecture fans will be relieved that this unique building will be spared.

Look Alive! Paul Rudolph’s Manhattan Loft at 23 Beekman Hits The Market

East, Eavesdroplet
Friday, December 14, 2012
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23 Beekman Place. (Courtesy Bernheimer Architecture)

23 Beekman Place. (Courtesy Bernheimer Architecture)

The Paul Rudolph townhouse at 23 Beekman Place hit the market in early December, listed at $27.5 million. The property consists of four separate apartments, including the four-level penthouse that Rudolph himself lived in, along with his pet rabbits. But buyer beware: the penthouse, which was renovated in 2006 by Della Valle and Bernheimer, retains many signature Rudolph elements, like the death-defying stairways with no rails. Potential buyers should also consider getting “some new sprinklers and a back-up security system installed,” as Chas Tenembaum, one fictional former tenant of The Royal Tenenbaums fame, noted after failing to escape the house in adequate time after a fire drill. “Four minutes and forty-eight seconds. We’re all dead. Burned to a crisp.”

More images after the jump.

Dubious FEMA Argument for Rudolph Demolition Debunked, Again.  RUDOLPH'S ORANGE COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER In yet another turn of the screw, Orange County, New York county executive Eddie Diana’s claim that a FEMA report proved Paul Rudolph’s Government Center sustained substantial damage from Hurricane Irene turns out to bogus at best.  Dogged reporting from the Times Herald-Record reveals once again that the county executive’s numbers just don’t add up: “Diana told reporters that county officials have coaxed FEMA into raising its original estimate to $535,000 from $505,000. By contrast, the county’s consultants had estimated $10.5 million in damages.” FEMA officials blame the bulk of the damage on poor maintenance.

 

Rudolph Lives! At Least For Now.  Rudolph Lives! At Least For Now The perplexing yet bewitching jumble of concrete boxes known as Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York has been granted a reprieve. The county legislature voted 11 to 10 against a bond issue which would have funded the demolition of the Paul Rudolph designed building. Preservationists and architects have been following the project closely, and have made compelling arguments against the demolition and in favor of renovation. No word yet on whether the county will move to renovate the building, which suffers from leaks as well as damage from tropical storm Irene.

 

Another Rudolph in Danger.  The Sarasota High School by Paul Rudolph. (Courtesy Design Observor) While Paul Rudolph aficionados are in a holding pattern until Thursday, awaiting news from Goshen about whether the Orange County Government Center will be torn down, Design Observer‘s Mark Lamster has put another endangered Rudolph onto their radar. The Sarasota school board in Florida is considering a renovation of Sarasota High School that would enclose its stepped entryway and canopy. Lamster warns that the alteration “would utterly compromise the Rudolph’s vision and the work itself.”

 

Fate of Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center in the Balance

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
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Yesterday's committee vote approved replacing Orange County Government Center. (AN/Stoelker)

Yesterday's committee vote approved replacing Orange County Government Center. (AN/Stoelker)

Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center moved a tentative step closer to demolition yesterday after a subcommittee of the county legislature approved $14.6 million to finance the design of a new $75 million complex. With the subcommittee vote cleared, a full vote by the legislature is expected on May 3. But committee chair Michael Pilmeier’s vote breaking a four to four split hints that the plan may not have the two-third majority of the legislature needed to proceed.

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More Eyes on Rudolph’s Threatened Orange County Government Center.  More Eyes on Rudolph's Threatened Orange County Government Center Recently AN put a spotlight on Rudolph’s threatened Orange County Government Center, through photos and reporting, and many others are coming to defense of this challenging and bewitching building. The World Monuments Fund declared the building a culturally significant site, and a local group is protesting the planned demolition. Bloomberg’s James S. Russell just visited, declaring it, “insistently attention-grabbing in photos, the building reveals a surprising delicacy in person. Rudolph’s complicated shape-making domesticates the building’s institutional scale.”  Will prominent architects from around the country rally to around Rudolph’s singular creation? Time is running out.

 

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